Chris Abbotts is another of my friends from my TV life. He had an important role in our newsroom as the conductor of sorts to make the news content on our social media platforms sing. He and his wife Emily have made a big move recently and he’s taken a new job. I wanted Chris to share from his wealth of experience in the “TV world” as well as in his new role in the public relations world.
As we continue our guest blogger series, I love that I am able to share wonderful expertise from all different facets of the world using social media. Meet Chris!
What social media platforms are you on? And how do you use social media?
Personally, I’ll try anything new, but I consistently use Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. For me, those are the big three where I can find most of my friends, family, colleagues and favorite brands.
Facebook is my go-to for actual networking and probably gets the most of my attention. Zuckerberg and crew seem to have really nailed the whole algorithm thing, so I’m guaranteed to see almost everything I deem important.
I tend to use Twitter during real-time events, and more as a spectator than as a participant.
Instagram is always a contender as one of my personal favorites. I always compare it to magazines, where there’s some textual content but mostly higher quality, artsy photos. It’s easy for me to open the app with the intention of wasting a few minutes before a meeting, then look at the clock 20 minutes later to find out I’m late.
Professionally, the focus is on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
Facebook is the cornerstone of our social media strategy, and really has been in all of my past experiences. I always ask myself two things before I click the “post” button. First, is the content as good as it can be? And second, does it appeal to a majority of those who like the page? If the answer to those questions is yes, then it’s probably going to get a good reaction. Another thing that is always a top priority is engaging with users. To me, if you’re holding a one-way conversation, you’re not using social media to its full potential.
Everything that goes on Facebook goes on Twitter. That’s where the similarities end. I’d say we use it best during ongoing events where one or two-sentences can help tell an unfolding story. Photos are just as important here as they are on Facebook, if not more so. Analytics have shown that tweets with photos generally get more attention. Sometimes, an average of twice as much engagement, or even more. To me, hashtags are much more important on Twitter than they are on Facebook, and seem to travel further. I think it lets the user know that your message is part of a bigger conversation, if used correctly.
As for YouTube, it’s a no-brainer. If you have something that is extremely visual and active, this is where you need to be. It’s so well integrated with the major platforms these days, it really enhances the value of the message you’re trying to deliver. And when it comes to video quality, even in an UltraHD age with an emphasis on production quality, I think most users are pretty forgiving. Plus, it acts as a great archive.
What platforms do you feel are the best to engage your audience or ideal client?
Hands down, it has to be Facebook. In my experience, and I think most would agree, this is where your content has the potential to reach the most users and have a long life. Ask almost anyone you know and chances are they’re regular Facebook users.
Once you figure out Facebook’s attitude toward brands and how your specific brand fits into their current model, you can really maximize your audience. Finding that sweet spot when it comes to how often you post, what times of day are best, and what content works well can be tricky, but if you read the signs and pay close attention to insights you’ll know if you’re on the right track.
For example, I recently switched gears from almost a decade in TV news to healthcare public relations. In some ways, the strategy for growth was similar; demographics, peak use time and initiation of engagement. Other areas of focus couldn’t be more different, such as voice, frequency and types of content. But after some time navigating through the differences and watching each post closely, it started to make sense and the numbers showed that.
Twitter, depending on your area’s sentiment toward it, can be a close or very distant second place. Places I’ve been that have a bigger political, college and/or metropolitan climate have had more engaged users on Twitter. Either way, you definitely have to be there because there are some who have shied away from Facebook and only use Twitter as their main social media platform.
Instagram can be a staple for some, but without the ability to have working links, its only benefit seems to be brand awareness.
Share one or a few things that have surprised you about using social media.
Other than the trolls who never cease to amaze me, the biggest surprise has been social media’s acceptance over time, especially in a marketing and informational sense.
Ten or twelve years ago, if someone would have told me that I’d immediately turn to Facebook to find out the specials at my favorite restaurant, what band is playing at the local watering hole, or whether or not dogs are allowed at an upcoming festival, I would have never believed them.
The same thing goes for Twitter when it comes to breaking news. When I signed up for Twitter, I never would have thought that it would be my first source for information if I heard a lot of sirens or helicopters nearby, or that I’d be scrolling through my phone while watching a major national event unfold.
It’s an exciting career to be involved in. It definitely isn’t going anywhere, although the landscape is guaranteed to change at an even faster pace going forward.
Check back in another 10 or 12 years and I will likely be even more surprised at the level of which social media is integrated into our daily lives.
I’m the Social Media Coordinator at Indiana University Health in Indianapolis as part of the public relations team. I got into the social media game at the ground floor while creating web content in TV news. The places I’ve called home over the years include cities in Michigan, South Carolina and now Indiana. I’m married to my best friend, and enjoy the outdoors as much as I do sinking into the couch for a long Netflix binge.
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Big Thank You
Chris is the 11th contributor to this series. I am so fortunate to have such social media savvy friends that are willing to spend a little time to jot their thoughts down for us.
Do you have some tips on engaging others on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram? I’d love to hear from you. Leave me a comment in the box below.
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Mary Lu Saylor is an Emmy-award winning journalist who spent 30 years in the television news business. Her experience includes work as a videographer, newscast video editor, and ultimately as the newsroom Assignment Manager at WSPA-TV in Spartanburg, SC. Mary Lu is currently pursuing her passion of social media, which began during her years at WSPA-TV. She is a Social Media Specialist with FindGreatCompanies.com.